Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – Criteria & More

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

What is BPD?
BPD is caused by an inability to regulate your emotions.

What are the symptoms of BPD?
In order to receive a diagnosis of BPD, you must exhibit 5 of the following 9 symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  • A pattern of unstable and intense personal relationships.
  • Identity disturbance
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self damaging
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-mutilating behavior.
  • Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense anger.
  • Transient, stress related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

Why is it called “Borderline”?
It was believed that it was on the “borderline” between psychosis and neurosis.  It’s now being considered being renamed “Emotional Dysregulation Disorder”.

Risk Factors:
Being hypersensitive and growing up in an invalidating environment can lead to having BPD.

What can I do to help?
People with BPD need their emotions to be validated.

What is the best treatment for BPD?
One of the best treatments is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT.

Can medications cure BPD?
There is no cure for BPD.  The symptoms can be treated with medications.

What other conditions can people with BPD have?
People usually have co-morbid conditions along with BPD.  The most common are:  depression, anxiety, PTSD.

When does BPD strike people?
BPD usually strikes in adolescence.

What obstacles do people with BPD face?
People with Borderline Personality Disorder have been seen as “difficult”, “manipulative” and “attention-seeking”.

People are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for sometimes years before getting the correct diagnosis.  Many of them are misdiagnosed as having Bi-Polar Disorder.

Can adolescents get BPD?
People are not usually diagnosed with BPD until they are 18.  They can be misdiagnosed as having “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” or “Conduct Disorder”.  If they have had symptoms for at least one year, they may be considered as having BPD traits.

Are the brains of people with BPD different?
Yes.  We can see in the brains of people with BPD that the part of the brain that controls emotions is highly active compared to people without the disorder.  And the part that brings their emotions back to baseline is much less active than in others.  It takes people with BPD a lot longer to calm down that people without it.  Telling someone with BPD to “just calm down” is actually highly counterproductive.  What they need is to be validated with how they are feeling.

What can we do about BPD?
We need to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of BPD, especially in adolescents.  Many people needlessly suffer for years before getting the correct diagnosis, if they even get it at all.  Many Borderlines, up to 75%, attempt suicide, some many times.   About 10% of them will actually succeed.  There are different types of Borderlines.  Some are the Quiet Borderline, who don’t “act out” as much as the typical Borderlines.  Because they turn their anger inwards into depression, they can be more at risk.

People with BPD can be very hard to live with, with all of their rapidly changing strong emotions.  If it’s hard for you to deal with, just imagine what it’s like for them to live with it every single day of their lives.

Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT,  likens it to an “emotional third-degree burn victim”.  It can feel like they’re emotionally bleeding to death.

How many people have BPD?
It’s estimated that up to 6% of the population has BPD, more than schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder combined.  Yet there is much less awareness of BPD.

6 responses to “Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – Criteria & More”

  1. Great reading 🙂 I totally agree BPD needs to loose the stigma related to it and especially in adolescents .Having BPD myself I knew my son now 21 had traits from a young age but of course he was treated for low moods with antidepressants ,He finally got assessed last year and 4 sessions and he got the diagnoses .Of course I feel guilty and did become very depressed but now almost finished 12 months of DBT I can accept I cant take blame for every thing ,he is on the list for a DBT program but because there is a stigma associated with this horrible illness the drop out rate for young people is very high . I have fought with schools for 2 years now to introduce teaching about emotions after all they teach kids to be smart and get on well in life they even teach them physical well being so my point to them is whats the benefit of having great grades if you cant understand your emotions ?? I thought my 3 kids from a very young age all about emotions and their functions so they understand whats happening to them when they feel an emotion and that was not because I was suffering with mine but because my 12 year old is on the spectrum .He was diagnosed with Aspergers but personally I think BPD is there also but like you said they dont diagnose kids but I dread the future for my kids I dont want them having to go through pain and worry every day of there lives .Sorry for the book but I feel strongly about kids been taught it in school ..Thanks for reading …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry about the “book”! I wish I could get more comments like yours. I agree that kids should be taught about their emotions in school. I don’t want to dread the future for our kids. We need to keep fighting. At least we’re not alone. We’re all in this together!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had BPD for many years…have had lots of support up until now…now I don’t have any. It is very hard on my own…my friends and family are all intolerant of Mental health Issues,,,,I have never spoken of what I actually have, They would run a mile I am sure. I am Michelle at the end of the day however sometimes I need to tell someone about how it is going…this is why I am here….Michelle x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome here anytime!


  3. This is a great blog and website you have created. Very professional and informative in my opinion. I have a few questions about the disorder as I am suffering from it as well. For the past 4 years I have had occasional ‘pyschosis’ lasting weeks to a month or so. At first I had mania and was told that’s all it was. As years passed I was told it was pychosis and that I had Bipolar type 1. Just the other day my new doctor told it was dissociative and that got me thinking…. What if it is a multiple personality type disorder. When I have the dissociation I feel that I am somebody else and that person sort of takes over. When I am having it I just appear in a room and don’t know where I am, things I never noticed before I notice then and I also feel a complete disconnect from my body. I have also been told by my mother she thinks I have borderline. And I know I do. How should I go about getting the right diagnosis? I am only 21 years old and have already attempted suicide multiple times.


    1. Only a professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can give you a diagnosis. BPD is a very complex disorder and can be very hard to diagnose even among professionals. I would have a thorough assessment done to find out for sure. I had one done and they asked me tons of questions but then I finally had the correct diagnosis after years of being treated for just depression and anxiety without enough progress. I did a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy program and it changed my life for the better. DBT is used for many things besides just BPD now. I’d ask about it. You can always check out DBT Path, run by Debbie Corso. She’s amazing! I love her blog as well “” Here are the links to both of those sites:

      I hope you find these helpful.

      Liked by 2 people


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